It was the first week of November again. It was finally getting cold and we had once again hidden from the world, munched on Halloween candy and waited in anticipation for any signs of another baby joining our family. I told my friends, “My babies are born in November. They just are.” Both were due in October and November 6, 2013 marked 41 weeks of pregnancy with Baby #2.
We still didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. We surprised ourselves by getting pregnant the first month we tried. We spent the day before our scheduled induction finalizing name choices. This baby was our little mystery, keeping us in great anticipation until the very end.
We waited for the call to go into the hospital. At 7:30 am the phone rang and it was the nurse. Greyson watched my face fall as I listened to the news that the labor and delivery ward was slammed and we would have to wait. More waiting. I took a deep breath and tried to hold it together until I could call back and check-in midday. I kissed Charlotte goodbye as Greyson took her to school to join the rest of the 3-year-old class. I dressed her in her “Big Sister” t-shirt, praying it wasn’t in vain and we would in-fact have our baby today.
We watched TV. We watched the clock.
I said, “Let’s get out of here.” I wanted to get out, but I didn’t want to get too far from the hospital. The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh is right across the street from the hospital. We went there to walk around and kill time. I wanted to hold Greyson’s hand and be distracted. A Porsche exhibit was there. Okay cars. Let’s look at cars.
The pic is a little blurry, but this is us a the exhibit. I’m wearing the same holey old college t-shirt I wore the day Charlotte was born. I think it’s good luck.
We walked through the history of Porsches from decades ago, to today. I learned a little . I didn’t realize Steve McQueen loved Porshes so much. It dawned on me they named Lightning McQueen from Cars after Steve McQueen. I wondered if this baby would like Cars as much as his/her sister. I looked up from a photo of the actor looking rugged on the set of a 1970’s racing flick and asked Greyson the same question we had been asking each other for nine months. “Boy or girl?” “Girl,” he said. “Me too,” I replied. We smiled
Yep. Probably a baby sister. Not that it mattered. We just wanted to meet this kid. We walked some more.
One of the racing Porsches had the names of drivers on the side who had the privledge of racing that pristine machine. I pointed out one name printed on the side of the car. “H. Haywood” was next to an American flag on the car. My eyes grew large and grabbed Greyson’s arm. We looked at each other with our mouths open. “Henry Haywood” was our name for a boy. We grabbed our phones and took pictures. Was it a sign? Was this a baby brother? Maybe.
I bought a toy car at the gift shop to give to our baby. I figure we’ll tell the baby the story of Mama and Daddy with the Porsches before he/she was born.
We ate at the museum restaurant. I gobbled up my risotto, hoping it would be my last meal and give me energy for labor. We drove home and I called the charge nurse to see if we could get in. I think she heard the desperation in my voice when I asked if she was sure I would be able to get in that day. She gave me no guarantee, which sent me in to the kind of tearful, hormonal fit I had become accustomed to in the last week. Apparently every baby in the county was being born at our hospital today.
I tried to relax and take a nap when we got the call asking if we could be there by 3:oopm. We would be there before that. Make no mistake. If I had a Porsche to get me there faster, I would have driven it but, no infant car seat would fit in there.
We sat and waited in the lobby, filled out paperwork and waited for the nurse to come and get us. We were finally there and when I got a little irritable at the even longer wait Greyson put on his sarcastic sypathetic face and said, “Hey, I’m here. Don’t worry. I’m your Baby Buddy.” I fell out laughing. My Baby Buddy. He is indeed the only person on earth I’d want to be with me during labor and delivery. I took my buddy’s hand and went to the room where we would meet our second child.
By this time it was 4:00 pm or 4:30pm. I took my last pregnant photos and put on the gown. It did cross my mind that these may be the last few hours of my life that I would ever be pregnant. Part of me was sad. Part of me did not care and was ready to have this kid. Plus, the bag of Pitocin was by the bed. There was no turning back now.
After some more paperwork, vital signs and fetal monitors, they started the Pitocin and the other bag of fluid they give you for whatever reason. Soon after, contractions started, exactly as they had with Charlotte’s birth when being induced. Happily, my water broke on it’s own and I didn’t need the creepy glove with the tiny hook up there like the doctor used last time to break my water. The worst pain was very localized. Always low on my right side. In the last three years since giving birth the first time, whenever I have the slightest menstrual cramp, it is in my lower right side. That’s when I instantly have labor flashbacks. The pain was exactly as I remembered it.
Seeing Greyson’s face as I grimaced was awful. You could tell he felt helpless. The epidural was welcome. Once again, I can’t remember what the anesthsiologist said, or what he looked like. I just know the prick of the needle in my back was nothing but a tiny sting compared to the pain of my contracting belly. The first epidural attempt was futile. The left side of my body was a little numb, but my hot spot for labor pain remained on fire. Even with heavier doses of the numbing medicine I could still feel serious pain. I knew they were going to have to take it out and do it again like they did for Charlotte’s birth. With her birth, the anesthesiologist blamed it on new catheters but, this same scenario with a second child led this anesthesiologist to believe he needed to administer the epidural again in a different spot. It worked. Thank God. This time, fortunately, I could mostly feel my feet and my legs, unlike with Charlotte’s birth when I was nothing but a torso. Greyson said they should have tattooed my back with the proper place to put in the epidural.
Similar to Charlotte’s birth, it was just another hour and I was ready to push. I couldn’t feel the pain of the contractions, but serious pressure. I was so numb with Charlotte that I didn’t feel the type of pressure I felt this time. When I explained this to the nurse, she checked me and called the doctor immediately. She said, “It’s gonna be like, two pushes and this baby is gonna be out.” I liked her positive thinking, but she was wrong. The doctor gave the nurse orders not to let me push until she got there. We had a few minutes to sit through the pressure.
The doctor and the nurses in the room were excited to have a delivery where the parents didn’t know the sex of the baby. They told us births like this were fun. I looked at Greyson, “Last guesses, boy or a girl?” “Boy, I think,” he replied. I disagreed, “No, I think it’s a baby sister.” We smiled at each other, knowing we didn’t really care.
I followed the doctor’s instructions to push as the contractions came. I didn’t need instructions. I could feel when to push. Greyson was an excellent Baby Buddy as he dutifully brought me ice water to sip between pushes. I asked for handles to pull on, instead of pulling against my legs. I had better leverage that way. It was about 45 minutes of bearing down and catching my breath, bearing down and catching my breath.
The last push brought our baby out and the doctor held him up for me. Him. I heard the words leave my mouth, quiet and breathless, but with true astonishment “Oh my God! It’s a boy!” Greyson and I looked at each other with open mouths. The waiting was done. The mystery was solved. The name on the Porsche was a sign. He was here. Our son.
I greeted him as I greeted his sister three years prior, “Hi! Happy Birthday! I’m Amy, I’m your mama. This is Greyson, he’s your daddy.”
The doctor put the scissors in Greyson’s hand to cut the cord. He didn’t do this with Charlotte. He always said about fathers cutting the cord, “Um. The pilot flew the plane. I’m not going to help him with the landing.” The doctor didn’t give Greyson a choice. I watched my nervous Baby Buddy land the plane by clamping down on the scissors and officially separating our son from my body.
He didn’t make much noise until they took him over to the heater. That’s when we took a few minutes to laugh and marvel that we had a son. They asked us what his name is. I said, “Henry Haywood.”
He was 8 lbs. and 1.9 ozs. “8 lbs. 2 oz.” the nurse rounded up when she announced his weight. He was 20 1/2 inches long.
The nurse brought Henry to me, swaddled and sweet. His hair was black and wavy. He smelled so good, so brand new and lovely. He started rooting around and I knew he needed to be fed immediately. My sweet boy latched right away and ate for awhile.
I looked at him, listened to him suckle and felt his warm weight in my arms instead of my belly and suddenly my life felt bigger, our family more complete and I was somehow more whole.
I couldn’t wait to introduce him to his sister and make this little one part of our family. Like mothers do, I wondered what type of boy my baby would turn in to and what type of man we were capable of raising. That’s when I stopped my brain from going too far into the future and I froze time in that hospital room for a moment. A moment when a new member of our family arrived. It was another November in which life got a little better.